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Vista Watch – Beta 1.99

By Brian | October 12, 2005 | Share on Facebook

InternetWeek has a review up of the latest Windows Vista beta. Some quick thoughts:

DISCLAIMER: It’s never a good idea to review software based on someone else’s review, rather than seeing the software yourself. So everything here is just speculation based on what the reviewer (in this case, Scot Finnie) wrote and the screen shots he’s included:

– Performance is better.
Good news. Not surprising, but still good news. I like the goal they’ve set for themselves – “Windows will turn on & off in two or three seconds – like a television.” I have no expecatations of that actually happening, but I like the way they’re thinking.

– Live Thumbnails
Hover over the taskbar, and you can see a minature version of the minimized window (complete with working video, etc. if it exists on the page). This sounds moderately useful, but I’ll need the actual user experience to know for sure. It also occurs to me that if your machine is a little light on memory, this is the kind of thing that could make the hard drive thrash just by navigating around. If it’s snappy, though, it could be a good thing.

– Flip
They built the same minatures into the Alt-Tab function (which I basically have in XP through some add-in someone sent me years ago). That’s probably more useful than the live thumbnails. Again, though, time will tell.

Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Expose. I liked Expose when I saw it, but Microsoft’s answer sounds better to me. Expose was a little invasive (all the windows moved all at once). This seems more seprated from the actual user experience – sort of a timeout while I select a new app. As above, we’ll see…

-Windows SlideShow
Finally, the ability to re-create those movies where the person’s screen saver says “You’ve got e-mail” over a floating envelope graphic or some such nonsense. Cute idea when integrated with other, non-PC devices. Another example of using the new OS as an opportunity to expand the human-computer interaction beyond the current paradigm (rather than just making everything faster or slicker).

-Windows Gadgets
Sounds like a direct competitor to OS X’s widgets. The review doesn’t say too much about them. I found them kitschy on the Mac, and expect the same on Vista.

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